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  • Gayle Chong Kwan, Divided in Purpose between being visible and invisible, from The Golden Tide, 2012. Courtesy the artist.
Thu 30 Aug - Thu 27 Sep 2012

Online artist with artist Gayle Chong Kwan 
Broadcast live Thur 27 Sept - watch now below



Gayle Chong Kwan discusses her work The Golden Tide, which forms part of Our Mutual Friends; a project that celebrates Charles Dickens’s legacy through new digital artworks presented via social media. 

Chong Kwan has used Instagram to document flotsam and jetsam along the Thames between London Bridge and Margate. She will narrate her journey and the process of transforming her images into landscapes that move between digital and analogue. 

Chong Kwan describes the event as:
'A conversation and journey, a rambling narrative thread, a myriorama tale or text, weaving in and out of the digital instagram and analogue medium-format photographic landscapes which chart the flotsam and jetsam in rivers and along the coast between London and Margate as well as digital streams and photosharing apps. Featuring voices from Dickens 'Our Mutual Friends', tourist guides on the Thanet coast, internet postings about leaving London, blogs on analogue photography and 'why I hate Instagram', as well as tweets related to the locations I travelled to, the conversation begins in London... '



Our Mutual Friends presents four newly commissioned online artworks that take Charles Dickens's allegorical novel and find echoes in the present.

Manifesting in locations both on and offline, Our Mutual Friends connects the contemporary phenomenon of social media with the legacy of Dickens. The project mobilises Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites and apps to consider Dickens's satire on ‘society’, ‘celebrity’ and the superficiality of friendships in the light of our contemporary cultural moment.

The new works by Gayle Chong Kwan, Graham Hudson, Thomson & Craighead and Janice Kerbel will be available online at and through various social networking sites from 30 August.

Our Mutual Friends draws on two key themes from Dickens's tale: the scrapheaps and dustheaps of Victorian London and the superficialities of the salon-society social whirl. It explores how those motifs might resonate today - the dirt and debris of the riverside dustheaps superseded by the virtual/digital junk and clutter we carry around in our heads/Blackberrys/phones, and the social whirl extended and accelerated by Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc; a never-ending source of that very same disposable but insidiously cluttering material.

Turner Contemporary will be featuring Gayle Chong Kwan’s project The Golden Tide, which peruses the flotsam and jetsam of the River Thames, and traces how the images of the objects that she finds there later wash up online. Following the course of the river from London to Margate, Chong Kwan records small-scale, everyday beachings – each item adding to a stream of digital snapshots uploaded to the digital photo app, Instagram. Chong Kwan selects images, which she collages together into a panorama (or ‘myriorama’) – its antiquated form echoing the muted ‘archival’ patina of Instagram’s trademark look. These images will be printed as a series of posters, and fly posted on the outside of London’s Jerwood Space, where they will be left to weather over time.

Our Mutual Friends is commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella and presented in partnership with Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Turner Contemporary, Margate and Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth. 

Follow @omutualfriends on Twitter. 


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